The Avengers 2: Whedon Talks Ultron, Thanos and an ‘X-Men’ Crossover

Published 2 years ago by , Updated August 18th, 2014 at 1:38 pm,

Avengers 2 Age of Ultron Logo The Avengers 2: Whedon Talks Ultron, Thanos and an X Men Crossover

Since Marvel’s The Avengers first hit theaters, fans have debated which new enemies and conflicts would be brought in to The Avengers 2, with many citing the film as the point at which Marvel would ‘go cosmic.’ When the aforementioned sequel was revealed to be The Avengers: Age of Ultron at San Diego Comic Con 2013, the speculation didn’t end – it merely changed.

But with confusion over the likes of Ant-Man, the addition of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, and the continuing absence of Thanos – the character once thought to be guiding the franchise as a whole – Joss Whedon has offered to explain the sequel’s name, the lack of a certain ‘Mad Titan,’ and why ‘team-ups’ – especially cross-studio ones – aren’t going to be a regular occurrence.

For starters, there’s good chance that when movie fans first heard of the Age of Ultron subtitle, a quick online search informed them of the Brian Michael Bendis series of the same name. Unfortunately, while Hank Pym a.k.a. Ant-Man was Ultron’s creator in that series, his absence in the Marvel movie universe requires some significant changes.

Hawkeye vs Ultron in The Avengers Age of Ultron The Avengers 2: Whedon Talks Ultron, Thanos and an X Men Crossover

Marvel head Kevin Feige has been forthcoming about the changes made by Whedon, and in an interview with Total Film, the director reiterated that while the sequel’s title might be confusing to some, they couldn’t let a title that good go to waste:

“It’s not based on the series. Honestly, we went through a lot of titles – Underoos Of Ultron. None of them landed…Underoos would’ve been better because of the alliteration. But Age of Ultron really stuck. We were like, ‘It’s a book, but we’re still going to use it’.”

“We’re not going to see Pym and all the accoutrements. Ultron is more central to the Avengers as they are. But we will explore the idea of lineage, because he was created by us and we’ve got to own that… Then we have the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver and I think that’s plenty, because Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch did not begin their time as friends of the Avengers, so there’s going to be a lot of, well, conflict.”

Whedon’s use of the words “created by us” provides yet another hint at the new origin story of Ultron concocted for the film, and could imply that it’s not just Tony Stark who is responsible for the villain’s creation (as we have already speculated), but that S.H.I.E.L.D. may have a hand in it as well. The decision to remove Hank Pym from the origin story will likely still be a sore spot for Ant-Man fans, but look at it this way: Marvel still seems bent on giving the character his own film, not merely an appearance alongside the Avengers.

Thanos Imperative 3 Art The Avengers 2: Whedon Talks Ultron, Thanos and an X Men Crossover

Tweaking a villain’s backstory to better fit existing themes and characters is all well and good (and apparently an idea Whedon has had for years), but there was a time when Marvel was thought to be risking their grounded approach to superheroes with Phase Two; launching Earth’s heroes into cosmic conflicts. At one point, some even claimed that Iron Man 3 would end with Tony Stark heading into space to meet Marvel’s next super-team, the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Though the concept may seem odd in hindsight – given the completely different tone and fiction seen in the Guardians teaser footage – the inclusion of Thanos in The Avengers put the writing in the wall on the first place.

Yet Whedon explains that mixing the Avengers with cosmic characters like the Guardians is a slippery slope, and while Thanos most certainly exists in the movie universe, seeing him put center stage is still a long way off:

“We have to stay grounded. It’s part of what makes the Marvel universe click – their relationship to the real world. It’s science-fiction, and Thanos is not out of the mix, but Thanos was never meant to be the next villain. He’s always been the overlord of villainy & darkness.”

Bad news for Thanos fans, then (even if acting as a a malevolent force behind the scenes is in keeping with his character). While we’re on the subject of disappointment, the subject of an Avengers/X-Men crossover event also came up in the interview.

Whedon Talks Avengers X Men Crossover The Avengers 2: Whedon Talks Ultron, Thanos and an X Men Crossover

Although some in the X-Men camp would love to see the competing studios pool resources for an event film – and Hugh Jackman is dying to “kick Iron Man’s ass” on screen – Whedon has some more bad news:

“That’s not the plan. It would be cool but I think right now I already have a ton of very talented actors in my movie playing a ton of characters, and I’m about to add a few more. So I’m not like, ‘How can we get more licensed characters because I want to kill myself and make a nine-hour movie.’”

Hard to argue that Whedon will have a hard enough time making Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye more important in the sequel, maintaining Scarlett Johansson’s Widow as a “huge part” of the story, and introducing both Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. Perhaps it’s best to keep superhero characters in a single film down to a dozen?

There’s nothing saying that Thanos fighting the Avengers, Ant-Man joining the team or Marvel and Fox’s movie universes blending together can’t happen at some point down the road, but for now, let us know what you think of the decisions. Should Tony Stark be made the creator of the team’s next foe? Should the Avengers stay rooted in the real? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases on May 1, 2015

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Total Film (via CBM)

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. I just think that Agent Coulson on Agents of Shield already is a Ultron prototype…

  2. This is getting so nerdy it’s embarrassing. What made Iron Man cool is that it didn’t feel like a comic book movie. The worst thing about The Avengers was it was way too comic-bookey. Nobody cares about these villains. Everybody had to go to Wikipedia to even figure out who the guys was in the Avengers credit scene. Compare that to how awesome it was when Gordon gives Batman the Joker card at the end of Batman Begins. These movies need to stay grounded or else they get just plain stupid and require too much suspension of disbelief. I say: get rid of Hawkeye (he’s useless), scrap adding the no-name characters, bring Hugh Jackman over as Wolverine, and have Hulk be the bad guy. That would be a movie I’d be excited for.

    • @ j mills , if you had to wiki thanos to know who was then you never deserver to ever see another comic book movie for the rest of your life period. You should be banned at the door from this point on.

      • That is a stupid thing to say. So what if they had to wiki Thanos. I read every comic Marvel makes and have for many years, and I could care less if someone who has never picked up a comic enjoys the movies. I’m pretty confident Marvel is fine with it too.

    • @ j mills , if you had to wiki thanos to know who he was then you never deserve to ever see another comic book movie for the rest of your life period. You should be banned at the door from this point on.

    • Jay, you have to somewhat care who the villain is…because some of the villains that have popped up in Marvel (let alone any comic universe) have been down right stupid…and Hawkeye isn’t really that no-name a character (granted, Renner was wasted in that movie)

    • The Hulk isn’t supposed to be a villain, nor is that the movie most people would want ( a lot of us do want him to get his own movie now that they have the perfect guy playing him.) The only time the Hulk is in opposition to the other characters in comics and animated movies is when they meet for the first time and don’t know they were on the same side (a device that has been overly repeated.)

    • the movie that was based off of a comic was too “comic bookey” for you? why don’t you write your own script and see how great it is

  3. Yes whedon lets develope characters that noone gives a s*** about like black widow and hawkeye and ditch thanos who would be the only reason I would watch this crap

    • A lot of people care about Black Widow in particular whether you do or not.

  4. I’m still confused about something. Is Pym going to be in the movie, or is he changing Untron back-story completely? If he is, why use the one villain that requires to intro stories. Why not go with a straight Thanos plot, because we all know that the main reason there is a sequel is Robert Downy Jr.

    I know I’m arguing ageist myself. We should be happy that he went with a pure “avengers” plot. lol

  5. @Jay Mills, I literally couldn’t have said it better myself, took the words straight out of my mouth, except that Hulk idea…because you are right that would be insane!!!!! Bring Hugh Jackman in, he said he’s quote ‘dying to kick iron mans ass.’ And the fans are dying for this as well.

    @DavisD, if everyone who had to google Thanos was banned from seeing Avengers, they couldn’t afford to MAKE the film in the first place….I think your small army of nerds needs to have another group meeting and realize that just because you all have wet dreams about superheroes, doesn’t mean the rest of the world gets hard for Thor….we want the same style Iron Man came out in, the only comics we want are comic relief….shits real out here in Asgard!

    • I don’t understand how Loki is considered more grounded than Thanos. I wasn’t happy about the fact that I keep having to see him as the villian.

  6. Seeing as they seem to be pursuing the Infinity Gauntlet saga, it would make sense to have the Guardians movie before the Avengers face off against the Mad Titan as well…but if the Infinity Gauntlet saga is the eventual direction that the Marvel movie universe seems to be headed…they are gonna need some more heroes…besides, if they did the crossover (and did it well), it would probably be the most successful adventure film of all time…hell, just to have a Hulk vs. Wolverine on the big screen for a couple seconds I would pay double admission.

    • I totally agree, especially with the more heroes part. When will we see the Beyonder, Spider Man and Wolverine could join as well, maybe throw in a little Black Bolt, and The One Above All, it will take a lot of heros to defeat Thanos with the gauntlet and all the gems…

  7. Thanos Thanos Thanos if theres no Thanos why even show him in the first avengers

    • There’s going to be thanos. It wouldn’t make sense to have him not do anything. The direction is obvious, no matter what the article said. Once he gets all stones, he will also get the gauntlet and then attack earth. The guardians of the galaxy will follow thanos to earth and meet the avengers.

  8. If its going to be a avengers movie why go off track with the story and the characters cause the avengers are made up of iron man, captain america, the hulk, thor, ant man, the wasp then later more people join up. so why add x men to the line up. thats like making a movie with x men and have iron man show up and help them. It just dont make since. then when they ask why they add quicksilver and scarlet witch the answer we get is Whedon grow up on reading the comics and wanted to add visually interesting to the movie. well lets see the wasp can change sizes and shoots singers. and ant man and change size as well and call up on bugs for help. adding the 2 x men to the story is a big mistake cause its going to make it a bigger flop then x men 3 the last stand. or even all the resident evil movies put together.

    • Multiple X-men join the avengers including wolverine. So it’s not really that farfetched.

    • Ant Man is supposed to get his own franchise but it hasn’t happened yet so I guess they didn’t want to introduce him in the Avengers 2, especially with the size changing which they’d probably want to unveil separately from an already special effects laden production, all of which impacts the Wasp, as well.

  9. I mean if marvel is planing to slowly introduce thanos more throughout the next couple movies its such a great idea. Creates suspense and gives the fans a chance to love him

  10. I have no issue with folks who’ve never picked up a comic book liking these movies. That’s the whole point of changing media: to increase your fan base. And, as a comic book nerd married to another comic book nerd, my wife and I BOTH had to Google who that was at the end of the Avengers. To be fair, my lean was more toward X-Men, but the movies and animated series have gotten me much more interested in the Avengers.

    But to complain that a COMIC BOOK movie is too COMIC BOOKY is kind of ridiculous, doncha think?

    As for villians, I’d love to see Gravitron show up, as his origins were already explained in AoS. But I also get Joss’ idea that putting too many characters played by too many A-list actors into one movie would be a fustercluck.

    • Comic book isn’t even a genre. It’s just another medium for delivering a story. Walking Dead is based on graphic novels, but that’s about all it has in common with Spider Man, for example. Stephen King’s Dark Tower has been developed into graphic novels, but the gunslinger didn’t morph into a crime fighter.

  11. I love the fact to see thanos in an epic battle with the mightiest warriors but rather see it more like the comic like having X-Men avengers guardians of the galaxy fantastic four having their own movies leading up to the main battle but only have the top ten fighters/few people from each movie in the battle with thanos

  12. The Infinity Gauntlet comic series was, in my opinion, the best comic story. It was classic! Telling that story on the big screen will be awesome! However it must be thought out carefully, and presented correctly. That said, Marvel must find a way,(and I repeat MUST) must find a way to incorporate The X-Men, Fantastic 4, Silver surfer, and Spiderman into the films! They must all be present to challenge Thanos and his infinity gauntlet.

    • I like your comment

    • Totally agree.

  13. But they HAVE to do a crossover now. Since Quicksilver is gonna be in both avengers and x-men (even though they’re gonna be played by two different actors), they’re characters are still in both movies, so they would be connected.

    • im going to straight up say i dont read comic books, and dont know the history of any of the characters. I had know idea just how big the “Universe” was until i used Wiki to look up some backgrounds and found myself reading for a good 2 hours. its mega interesting. I cant believe that some people just dont see the big picture. If im wrong about certain things i apologise. It seems to me that Thanos is the almighty evil in this current story telling abd I dont think we will see a finale with him against the Avengers until the end of phase 4 or 5. This dude dies twice after all (mistress death) brings him back to life, so i can see a surprise story arch there. The collection of the Gems is an obvious ongoing story line as well bringing together a host of heroes, and hopefully crossovers. Plus i hope Black Panther gets a movie soon :)

  14. Even the sweet baby jesus does not know what the f!%$ you just said.

  15. If Thanos is pretty much the end all be all to villains…why would they make him the main enemy in the second film if the series is meant to have 4-8 films? It wouldn’t make much sense to face the ultimate boss in a video game on the second level would it?!?!

  16. FYI, there are many, many other super awesome villains worthy of Avengers movies – for instance, an insanely powerful Avengers AND Guardians super-villain who would tie in beautifully is The Magus – interestingly, the reason for GotG recent fame is the mid-2000 series comics arc written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, which pitted The Magus against the Guardians – and who sneakily revived Thanos to the Marvel Universe!

    Marvel has such a rich legacy of Super Super Villains, there would never be a shortage of great baddies for movies. Other easy ones are Kang the Conqueror, Annihilus, The Red Skull, The Kree/Skrull War (the Kree were introduced in Agents of Shield, and the Kree are the original name of the Chitauri in A1!!

    No Worries – they could make Avengers movies for years and never run out of material…

    • Oops, typo – the SKRULLS are the original name of the Chitauri in Avenger 1…

  17. Iam a little tick that ultrons story was re-done
    But I understand the need ant man not being released prior
    Is the only thing didn’t have time to hint at it first the hint at the end of iron man
    I feel like they should have waited on quicksilver a scarlet witch till they could do a cross over
    With fox at least they get most of it right unlike the xmen franchise who just keeps making plot holes

  18. The xmen films are terrible and shouldn’t ever be considered to cross with what The Avengers have going. That would be asinine. Wolverine vs Ironman wouldn’t even be a fight worth watching as Joss’s writing approach is a lot more logical than whatever lazy director does the xmen movies. Just my opinion.

  19. ok…here it goes. in regards to the comment that you have to go to Wikipedia or some other site to find out who the characters are, you really aren’t a Marvel fan. If you read the comics, you would know. but then again, that comment did come from someone who said DC Comics were awesome. whatever. I see nothing wrong with an X-Men/Avengers crossover. happened in the comics, why not on the big screen? eventually it will happen. plain and simple…if you don’t like this Marvel Universe or the characters, then just don’t go see the movies. If it makes you that upset, save yourself the time and trouble. Just sayin.

  20. Been a huge Marvel fan since 1966, and not to see Thanos would be a big disappointment. …The Avengers teased us already with his appearance and it has already gone cosmic…I I can amazing the special affects being ground breaking and it could set up the appearance of more cosmic characters (Galactus, The Stanger, The Watchers)…that would also open up the possibilities of “What If” scenarios…I hate when Hollywood mess with the story lines, Marvel story lines are good and creative enough…

  21. If you are not going to put Thanos in the movies with a major role, then don’t tease us with it.

  22. I wouldn’t mind seeing the avengers vs xmen comics be made into a movie

  23. What an enormous letdown. They’ve been building up to the Infinity Gauntlet series for years, not just with the Avengers line of movies, but also with the Fantastic Four (Silver Surfer, Galactus). I don’t know how many more movies they expect to make with the current cast of characters, but this Ultron line seems really dismally boring in comparison with the fate of the universe.
    I can see the challenges associated with bringing earth battles cosmic, both from a creative and technical point of view, but the fact remains that its completely doable. They already did the Green Lantern which had a nice space set, as well as the scenes with Galactus from FF.
    The fact is that these actors are only going to get older. With production times lasting several years each, there’s only so many movies they can make. No one wants to see a 70 year old Tony Stark. And though the sub storylines for Black Widow and Hawkeye might be interesting, they should save that for their own movies.
    Every-time they decide to go on these weird tangent storylines they screw up franchises. Look at the last Iron Man movie. Look at the last X Men movie.
    There are plenty of characters right now that could be used to fill an Infinity Gauntlet movie, and it would be a relatively simple task for them to add lesser characters into the film with no-name actors using the X-Men University as a basis for introduction. They could have easily split that movie up into two films, using the first as the lead-up, and the second as the actual battle.
    Very dissapointing Whedom, especially after you’ve been teasing us with this for awhile now.

  24. What I think of all this is that, Marvel needs to involve the x men, fantastic four, and spider-man, of course later in the future.

  25. Since Ultron is made of
    atamantine (probably misspelled) will wolverine have a place in another avengers movie where the avengers are combined with the X-men

    • I guarantee they will not continue to cross over any more x men characters other than scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. The way I see it, the members of the Avengers for both Infinity War Parts will be Iron Man, Hulk, Cap, Thor, Ant Man, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Adam Warlock (seeing as he broke out of his cocoon in the Collector’s end credit scene and that he is the most important character in the infinity saga). It’s a stretch, but maybe the Vision and Captain Marvel also.

      • There’s also gonna be the Guardians of the Galaxy joining in on this one, which makes sense because Thanos is like their main enemy.

  26. The fact that somebody might not know who Thanos is at the end of The Avengers,doesnt mean anything.You get to see who the f*** Thanos is later in the MCU(for example,GoTG) and if you cant wait,then you can google it.Its not like they have to hand you everything over.

  27. I think thanos should fight the avengers in an infinity gauntlet movie along with other heroes. We’ve already seen of course the avengers drdoom silver surfer etc. there are also people in the book that are also soon to be introduced such as drstrange and the scarlet witch. So I’m thinking they should make this movie later.